A feast for the eyes - photos that celebrate hawker culture

Photos for the #OurHawkerCulture photography contest were on display yesterday at Bedok Town Square, alongside a separate photography showcase on what 24 hours at five different hawker centres here look like.
Photos for the #OurHawkerCulture photography contest were on display yesterday at Bedok Town Square, alongside a separate photography showcase on what 24 hours at five different hawker centres here look like.ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN

The latest effort in the bid to get Singapore's hawker culture on Unesco's list of intangible cultural heritage has given new meaning to the saying, "to feast one's eyes".

Over 3,000 photographs highlighting various facets of the nation's hawker culture and history - from hawkers hard at work to the unspoken but observed rule of "chope-ing" seats - were submitted in the #OurHawkerCulture photography contest between December and January.

Yesterday, a captivating photograph of more than 100 cups containing the remains of a variety of kopi and teh (coffee and tea) won the grand prize.

Civil servant Steven Sung, who snapped the winning photo in Fengshan Market, was among four winners picked by National Geographic celebrity chef David Rocco, local food guru KF Seetoh and representatives from the Ministry of Communication and Information.

Several photos were displayed at the We Celebrate #OurHawkerCulture event held at Bedok Town Square, alongside a separate photography showcase on what 24 hours at five different hawker centres here look like.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information as well as Culture, Community and Youth, said: "We asked ourselves how we can help the world understand the varied and very exciting, delicious flavours of our hawker culture.

"So we thought of enlisting the help of Singapore's photographers, to create the kind of images to help the world understand."

The authorities will submit the nomination documents to Unesco by the end of the month in the hope that hawker culture will make it to the list in 2020. So far, more than 850,000 people have pledged their support for the nomination.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 24, 2019, with the headline 'A feast for the eyes - photos that celebrate hawker culture'. Print Edition | Subscribe